Six communications skills to learn from John Bercow

Blog posts   •   May 03, 2019 08:05 +08

In the whole Brexit chaos, the person who has impressed me the most is the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. Communications Directors in Asia are unlikely to ever have to control a scrum of journalists like Bercow controls the House. But I have anyway distilled his edicts "from a sedentary position" into a set of learnings for business leaders and communications professionals.

Christchurch attack: Should live streaming be banned?

Blog posts   •   Mar 28, 2019 06:43 +08

In the wake of the gun attack on two mosques in Christchurch this month, one question being asked is whether live video streaming apps should be banned. The concern is that the terrorist in custody on murder charges was streaming his evil rampage live on Facebook. By providing live streaming capabilities, companies such as Facebook (and Instagram), YouTube, Twitter and others are creating platforms for terrorists to earn the notoriety they seek. Without a live stream facility, they are less able to achieve their goals.

It's hard to imagine that the live stream footage is anything but gruesome. I haven't watched it, and we could debate whether anyone should. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for one is reportedly "request[ing] urgent meetings with the peak industry organisations — Free TV Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association — to discuss whether current rules are providing adequate protections for Australian audiences."

There is also the questions whether Facebook should have done more to pull the live stream, not just prevent the sharing or uploading of the recording. The Guardian's CEO David Pemsel said “The idea that somehow – accidentally or otherwise – somebody should monetise that is abhorrent.”

But a total ban on live streaming apps "in the public interest" not only disadvantages users who are streaming seminars, public hearings or birthday celebrations, but also removes an important tool in the fight against crime. Think of the police shooting of black motorist Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016, which was live streamed on Facebook by his girl-friend Diamond Reynolds.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty on charges including second-degree manslaughter, but the footage would have proved crucial in securing the settlement in the wrongful death civil lawsuit brought by Castile's family and Reynolds.

Calling for a ban on live streaming software in the public interest is slightly reminiscent of calling for a ban on guns in the public interest. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" the mantra goes. We could argue the same about live streaming.

But there is one important distinction. Live streaming doesn't kill anyone. As despicable as live streaming a mass murder is, live streaming capability in the community does not cost lives in the way guns in the community do.

The responsibility lies with broadcasters and technology platforms whether to screen such footage, and it lies with viewers whether to watch it. I personally think they shouldn't. But banning live video streaming apps altogether goes too far.

In the wake of the gun attack on two mosques in Christchurch this month, one question being asked is whether live video streaming apps should be banned. Here is my answer.

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Why senior business leaders can't mouth off like Donald Trump

Blog posts   •   Mar 20, 2019 08:22 +08

​A surprising number of media training participants have asked me why they can't just speak their minds like Donald Trump. They admire his courage to say what he thinks. But while I have some sympathy with the motivation, it does not follow that you should follow Trump's example. Here are six reasons why.

How to identify "fake news": The proactive role consumers need to play

Blog posts   •   Feb 20, 2019 17:45 +08

The discussion about policing fake news misses one important point. Sure, people shouldn’t publish rubbish and pass it off as news. But news consumers must become better judges of whether stories are truthful.

LinkedIn Live video streaming - different from all the rest

Blog posts   •   Feb 14, 2019 09:00 +08

People who are saying LinkedIn Live is late to the video live streaming party are missing the point. The network is designed for business people sharing meaningful, valuable content - and that will apply to live video, too. I cannot overstate the significance of this. Senior business leaders who want to make a success of LinkedIn Live will have to take an entirely different approach.

Dear CEO: put the phone down when your staff present to you

Blog posts   •   Feb 13, 2019 08:38 +08

Recently, a group of your staff came to my TV studio for executive presence training and shared a surprising frustration: when they present to you and the senior leadership team, the hardest thing is to get your attention. The message you are sending your staff when you and the SLT don't pay attention is you don't care – and neither should they. Is that the culture you want in your organisation?

Crisis comms case study: Outgoing Chairman of the National Australia Bank

Blog posts   •   Feb 11, 2019 08:50 +08

The Chairman and the CEO of the National Australia Bank have quit in the wake of ​Australia's top level enquiry into its banks – resulting in an interesting case study in crisis communications

Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year!

Blog posts   •   Feb 04, 2019 10:10 +08

​A new year with new beginnings, may the rising sun bring you immense peace, prosperity and happiness.

Media Savvy: Be careful with on-camera stunts like that of the Malaysian Sports Minister

News   •   Feb 02, 2019 10:56 +08

The Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister's recent appearance on the BBC's HardTalk program was impressive, and while there is always room for improvement it was in many ways exemplary for other local business and political leaders. His interview technique embodies these key learnings.

Can you afford not to produce a Gillette video?

News   •   Jan 23, 2019 14:30 +08

Our marketing strategists battle it out in our live webcast over what you could do if you were Gillette's communications director - and what your next move would be.

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